This South Pacific island nation is practically on the opposite side of the world from that former Soviet Republic and wouldn’t ordinarily be expected to have any interest in training an Eastern European country’s military. The reason why it’s doing so, and on British territory at that, is likely because its leadership has an interest in joining AUKUS.
New Zealand announced on Monday that it’ll dispatch troops to the UK to train Kiev’s artillery forces as part of the NATO-led proxy war on Russia through Ukraine. This South Pacific island nation is practically on the opposite side of the world from that former Soviet Republic and wouldn’t ordinarily be expected to have any interest in training an Eastern European country’s military. The reason why it’s doing so, and on British territory at that, is likely because its leadership has an interest in joining AUKUS.
That anti-Chinese military alliance that unexpectedly debuted last September functions as the “Asian NATO” and is predictably looking to expand. While Japan and South Korea have been suggested as possible members in the future, the first of which participates in the Quad alongside Australia and the US, it’s much more likely that New Zealand will join before that happens. This is because that country is an easy shoo-in and the lowest-hanging fruit.
New Zealand is already a “Major Non-NATO Ally” that works very closely with Australia and the US, which are two of AUKUS’ three members. It was previously described as pragmatic towards China due to their close trade ties but its attitude has shifted since its aforementioned two allies politicized Beijing’s soft security deal with the nearby Solomon Islands. Prime Minister Ardern called it “gravely concerning” and blamed the pact on China’s so-called “growing assertiveness”.
The Australian precedent of unilaterally destroying close trade ties with China for purely political reasons under American pressure provides a model that New Zealand could prospectively follow. It’ll still need to do more to rival its neighbor’s Sinophobic policies but it already seems to be on the path to getting there sometime in the future. Dispatching troops to the UK to train Kiev’s forces could possibly be part of an arrangement to demonstrate New Zealand’s commitment to the US-led West’s “values”.
After all, Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine is being spun by that civilization as the greatest “threat” to their way of life since Nazi Germany invaded Poland, which is also how they’d predictably misportray China’s possibly military-driven moves to reunify with Taiwan sometime in the future. It’s that second-mentioned scenario that New Zealand seems interested in militarily reacting to should it come to pass, but it first needs to “prove its worth” to AUKUS by training Kiev’s forces.
Only upon successfully doing so can it likely take the next steps towards formalizing its membership in that anti-Chinese bloc. New Zealand already has military interoperability with its three members but, as was earlier mentioned, first needs to step up its anti-Chinese policies. It’ll probably do so gradually by following the Australian example as suggested by its growing public opposition to China’s soft security pact with the Solomon Islands.
Just like Russia’s special operation was exploited by the US to reassert its declining unipolar hegemony over Europe through NATO, so too will America exploit the China-Solomon Islands deal to do the same in the Asia-Pacific via AUKUS. Turkey’s objections aside, which are by no means insignificant, Finland and Sweden were the low-hanging fruit for NATO expansion. The same can be said about New Zealand joining AUKUS since it, just like those two, is already de facto integrated into that bloc.
It’s with this grand strategic context in mind that New Zealand’s dispatch of troops to British soil to train Kiev’s forces against Russia starts to make sense. This mission is basically intended to show that South Pacific island nation’s commitment to the US-led West’s “values” that the Mainstream Media has spun as being “under attack” by Moscow in recent months. More such examples are expected in the future, as is increasingly Sinophobic rhetoric from that country’s leadership, as it moves towards joining AUKUS.